Tibetan Soul and Life Retrieval Rites
by Ven Geshe Nyima Kunkhyab in San Francisco, CA
Ven Nyima Kunkhyab, a Geshe from Menri Monastery in Solan, India gave talk on “Lagug and Tsegug” Tibetan Soul and Life retrieval rites according to Bon tradition at Tibetan Community Hall in San Francisco Bay area, California. It was a part of Lhakar event of the Community. Geshe Nyima Kunkhyab la is born in Dolpo region of Nepal. He left for Menri Monastery in Solan at the age of 16 and studied Bon dialectic, sutra and tantra, and obtained Geshe degree. He taught at Central Institute of Higher Tibetan Studies in Varanasi for 13 years till 2007. Currently he is on the US tour to share the great spiritual tradition of ancient Tibet with the people in the West. Following is the summary of what Geshe la talked on the day [November 12, 2014].
The teachings of Tonpa Sherab, the founder of the Bon religion of Tibet is classified under nine vehicles, popularly known as “Nine Ways of Bon”[Thegpa rim-gu fïG-q-¼Û¤-hGÝü]. The first vehicle is Chashen thegpa, in which Tonpa Shenrab taught divination, astrology, exorcism rite and healing [Mo, Tsi, To and Chod ¤ôü ¯ÛÅü Gbô-hP-zTôÅü]. It is said that the first Vehicle was taught to answer the immediate need of the people around that time and to acquaint them to higher spiritual learning. Lagug and Tsegug rites come under the To rite. There are said to be some 360 To practices of which Geshe la is familiar with around sixty. Rites could be performed alone for Lagug and Tsegug or for both. Lalu and Tselu is synonymous for Lagug and Tsegug.
The force and energy of elemental constituents is said to be La. Proper balance of the natural elements within and without us is important. This elemental balance and relationship has three levels: Outer, inner and sacred. At outer level it is: earth, water, fire, wind and space. The elements are associated with the sound or mantra A YAM, RAM, MAM, KHAM [in reverse]. At inner level it is: flesh, blood, warmth, breath and mind. At sacred level it is: body, luck [lung-ta], power, La and life. They are related correspondingly, imbalance or loss of one or two elements may affect the balance of La and its strength.How do we know that our La or soul-force is down? Depression, restlessness, forgetfulness and loss of interest are indication of La-nyampa. It is more often that other people can notice better when your La is down. Easiest way to study the status of your La is to see the Tibetan almanac, where white and black dots [Deu Karnag] are measured against your La and Sog. White dot indicates good health, while black dots say the opposite. Recurring dreams of being naked alone, loss of teeth and hairs are indication of La-nyampa. La is lost or down when you experience a sudden shock in your life or when you are greatly frightened by some incident. Finding yourself alone or loss of dear or near one could also be the cause of weak or decline of La. When this happens, soul and life retrieval or call-back ritual is done to restore La in its proper place in the body and mind. This is La-gug and Tse-gug ritual found in ancient Bon scripture of Tibet as taught by Buddha Tonpa Shenrab.
La-gug and Tse-gug rituals and prayers are found in other schools of Tibetan Buddhism. Except for some wordings in the prayers and the names of the deities and spirits, rituals are almost same. But it is an open secret that Buddha Shakyamuni did not teach La-gug and Tse-gug, and it is not found in the Indian Buddhist literatures. His Holiness the Dalai Lama has also said clearly that these are purely ancient Tibetan contribution from Bon teachings. In some way, it is not religion; it is a traditional way of healing. But when it comes to invoking the blessing of Yidam [deity], it takes religious connotation.For the purpose of La-gug ritual, lineage or bloodline of the person is identified. In early Tibetan Himalayan regions, five classes are pronounced: Dhong, Ga, Gori, Dru and Ra. And five animals are identified with each of these classes respectively: deer, goat, sheep, yak and wild-ass. Usually, deer is used when proper race or class in not known. These five classes or race could be associated with the first six Himalayan races: Se, Mu, Dhong, Tong, Ra and Dru known as Meudhungdruk in Tibetan.
La-gug rituals and prayers are performed by an authorized Lama. Harmful Lhasrin Degye [gods, spirits and demons] are appeased, propitiated or conquered, expelled to stop the harm it is causing to the person’s La and Tse [Soul and Life]. One of the prominent rituals is: a figure of deer is made from dough representing the suffering person. In the heart is written a Tibetan letter rNri [Ni] representing the life-force of the person. In the raised right hand is Dadhar [ceremonial arrow] representing Life-strength of the person. On the left shoulder is a turquoise representing the La of the person. This figure of deer is kept floating on the milk water and prayers are done. The way the deer stops floating, and the direction it is facing shows whether the La-gug ritual has been successful or not. If the face or the right arm of the deer faces the patient, it is a good sign.Two stones of La, [La-do Nyi] is also used to study the effectiveness of the La ritual. Two stones, one white and one black are used. Then there is two dices of La [Sho Karnag]. One dice is white and one is black. White stone or dice indicates successful La-gug ritual and black stone or dice says otherwise.
This is a brief private note of what Geshe la talked about La-gug and Tse-gug, error and omission cannot be ruled out. Serious students may contact Geshe la for further teaching.